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suesill

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3 reviews

Review for Forests for Monarchs, La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, Austin , TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with this organization since its inception in 2007. The work we support is well organized and effective, and it provides significant benefits for not only the Monarchs, but also for the people who have lived with the Monarchs for untold generations, scratching a meager living from the land. Those who visit the monarch overwintering area of eastern Michoacán, Mexico will notice new patches of forest greening up the mountainsides. Many are the result of our collaboration with a successful Mexican tree nurseryman and local small land owners who live in the shadow of the monarch sanctuaries. Each year, we also participate in local reforestation events in the Monarch zone, by providing trees and logistical support. These events help educate children and adults to the need to preserve the forests, and promote good stewardship of the region's natural resources, as well as providing a healthy environment of the iconic Monarch butterflies which descend on the region by the millions each November.

Native Pine, Fir and Cedar tree seeds from the region produce robust seedlings that are distributed to eager farmers who devote their own labor and land to plant during the summer rainy season. We've planted millions of trees over these years, but the need is huge and we must continue. To do this we need the support of the public. We are now seeking a few major donors, who wish to make a difference, as well as many small contributions. All donations, no matter how large or small, help us continue to restore the environment for the Monarchs, and for us all.

We still are able to plant at least 2 trees with each dollar we receive.

Role:  Board Member
 

Review for Forests for Monarchs, La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, Austin , TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with this organization since it began, and have had many opportunities to participate in the distribution of trees, as well as reviewing plantings in the field. It is heart warming to see the new forests that are greening up formerly bare mountainsides that had been stripped of their natural forests. In June 2014, I had the honor to attend a school planting day near Zitacuaro, Michoacan, Mexico, where twelve 5th grade teachers had gathered over 600 children to plant trees on a badly degraded mountainside. I arrived with Sr. Alvarez, the project's Mexican partner, as he delivered 15,000 trees to be planted by the children, with the assistance of government foresters, and by local communities.

The need is great, and the desire on the part of the local communities to plant trees and restore their fallow fields and eroded lands is also strong. I am especially proud that in 2014 we finally reached our long term goal of planting 1 million trees in a single season. We are now seeking funds to help us continue planting at this rate.

Role:  Board Member
 

Review for Forests for Monarchs, La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, Austin , TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I am a botanist who has traveled all over Mexico studying Tillandsia, an epiphytic Bromeliad. My career grew out of my love for nature, and of Mexico which I began exploring by car in 1968. I first visited Michoacan in 1970, but it wasn’t until 1990 when I moved to Michoacan that I first visited the Monarch’s overwintering sites and was shocked by the bare fields that had crept across the mountainsides below the Monarch sanctuaries. It seemed that what had once been temperate forest was soon to become a desert.
Later that year I bought a piece of rural land on a mountainside overlooking Lake Patzcuaro. It was covered in what at that time was a 25 year-old re-growth forest of mixed pine, oak and madrone. During the eight years I lived there, I began to wonder if my piece of forest would soon be the only patch of forest on the mountainside. Logging trucks constantly hauled freshly cut pines from above my land to a saw mill below. That is when I began wishing for a way to help reforest fields to restore habitat for birds and the other plants that along with trees form beautiful rich communities. It was also heart breaking to watch the top soil wash into the shrinking lake during each summer rain.
In 1998, when I was preparing my move back to the US, Ed Rashin came from Santa Clara del Cobre to look at my property. As we walked the trails, showing him my land, we discussed the devastating effect that deforestation was having on the highlands of Michoacan from the Lakes to the Monarchs. He told me about a new project that was beginning to reforest in the Monarch area. When I left Mexico a few months later, I lost all contact with Ed. On my frequent trips back to Michoacan, I tried to find the project. In 2003, I finally reconnected with Ed. I soon met Jose Luis Alvarez and Maraleen Manos Jones, who was visiting Mexico from New York and began working to raise funds and awareness to help grow the project.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

To learn about the project, I have gone out with Jose Luis Alvarez to deliver trees to communities in the Monarch Area and in the Lakes Area and with Ed Rashin, Jose Luis Alvarez and Javier Hinojosa to monitor the tree planting. As an occasional part-time resident of Michoacan, I participate in as many on the ground activities as practical. Mainly, I oversee administration of the project, write grant proposals and reports, and put my experience and energies toward project growth and stability.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would like to see a guaranteed funding resource that would allow the project to grow steadily and securely.

Role:  Board Member & I now serve as President of the Board, as well as a part-time Executive Director for LCHPP, Inc.